Disclaimer: i do not own anything, it all belongs to its respective owners. i am a poor student, don't sue me, all you'll get is a banana and some pocket lint.
My name is Sokka. I have been called many things in my short years; idiot, genius, Snoozles, but I am still just a guy with a boomerang in a world of mysterious magics. This is the story of a warrior, four forbidden scrolls, a white wolf and a clouded heart.
Relationships Thus Far: Tokka - Maiko - Kataang
Jade Knight AN: This is the re-upload of this story. Its still the same tale, just with better grammar, spelling and a few more jokes.
Richard Caine Co-AN: My name is Richard Caine; this is my first FFNet Story I've worked on, even though I've written quite a bit before. Jade Knight here was kind enough to let me get on board with his story as something inbetween a Beta and a co-author. Hopefully, everyone'll enjoy we've got planned. Reviews are of course always welcome; they fuel the creative process, you know. Most flames will be politely ignored; the rest will be met with overwhelming force.
Anyhow, I'm not one to care too much, and I'm not that longwinded.
Just so you know, the Knight and I have made a few continuity tweaks. Specifically with ages. Notably, in this line Toph is around 14, the same(ish) age Katara, Azula is about 16. The guys are pretty much the same, with Aang being much closer to 13 than 12. So don't attack us on the age thing. We already know, believe me. This story's rated T due to some quite mature themes that will surface every once and a while. Mostly it'll be violence-level related, but as we haven't written the whole thing yet, we can't say for sure. You've been warned kids; you're on your own recognizance.
That being said, kick back and enjoy the ride.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is the property of Paramount. The Old Ones, the Gel-Hassad, the Incarna, and other original content is ours. If you want it, just ask. We writing fanfiction for crying out loud! But we do like to be informed. It's... unpleasant to find someone using your stuff without permission.
KathyKatInAHat Beta Note: Hi everyone! I'm Kitty, the new beta...not to be confused with Genzou. I'm excited to be on this team of amazing (yet a bit more than slightly crazy) authors, even if I have to get out the white coats every so often. Sigh. I hope you guys enjoy this chapter as much as I did!
Sokka: Master of the Black Sword
Author: The Jade Knight
Co-Author: Richard Caine
Beta: KathyKatInAHAt (A.K.A. Kitty)
The Story of Sokka
Chapter 1: Training
My name is Sokka; I am a warrior of the Southern Water Tribe. I have been called many things in my short years; idiot, genius, Snoozles. But I am still just a guy with a boomerang in a world of mysterious magics.
Things have been going badly for our little group for a while now. We are gaining more allies, my father's battle group for one. But it seems like every time we gain an ally, a city falls: Ba Sing Se, Omashu. The Northern Water tribe was almost wiped out. Too many of our friends have died trying to resist the oppression of the Fire Nation; it has to stop now. That is why I've started training hard every day, trying to become a master in my own craft. In a group of Element Masters, I must become just as powerful ... or fall behind.
But they are so strong. Each of them can take on twenty times their number and keep going, fifty times in Aang's case ... Toph too, she can be as scary as hell when she gets going. And then there's me. I have trouble defeating a handful of enemies.
This is unacceptable.
I have trained in the martial disciplines of many cultures; I have learned the ability of turning an enemies power against them from the Kyoshi warriors, the flow and grace from both the Northern and Southern Water tribes, and that's not to mention learning the controlled chaos of fire-style from Piando-sensei of the Fire Nation. But I am still not good enough, not strong enough. The others always have to look out for me, protect me. I am a man, and I don't mean to be sexist, but I was raised to believe it should be me protecting them.
It's agony knowing I am of no use.
Suddenly a voice penetrated my concentration. "Is he doing that again?" said Aang.
I was sitting on the ground a few feet away from the fire we had going last night, the smell of soot and charcoal dominating my nose, reminding me that we were constantly in danger being inside the Fire Nation borders. It only hardened my resolve. We were still in the heart of a thick forest mostly populated by spruce trees, so the smell of pine seemed to be ever present. Beneath me, the ground of our meager encampment was fairly flat thanks to Toph, and I could only feel a few stones among the fallen pine needles. In the distance I could smell a faint trace of water and wet stone; a waterfall. I couldn't hear it so it must have been a few miles away, almost directly northeast of our position.
That is the peace of meditation. It had been strange the first few times I had achieved it. It was like my mind had unchained itself from my body. I was still there, but it was like my body had fallen asleep without taking my mind along. I found it nearly impossible to move, and my breathing and heartbeat slowed down to a slumbering pulse. It was very... enlightening, I guess you could say. I would become hyper-aware of my surroundings in that state. I could hear the individual chirps of the birds, the scratching of squirrels' claws on the branches of trees. I could even hear the slightest changes of the wind as it passed through the tree branches. It was supposed to be a great way to think, and I could see how.
"Is he sleeping like that again?" I heard Katara ask, and the sound of rustling cloth drew my attention as she rolled up her sleeping bag. Knowing we would have to start moving again I slowly started to bring myself out of the meditative trance.
I chose a point of my body; this time it was my left thigh. One of the few rocks on the ground was lightly pressing into my skin. I focused on the uncomfortable sensation, pushing everything else out of my mind. I had reached a point where I could block out pretty much anything except the most painful sensations, but it seemed that the best way to bring myself out of a meditation was discomfort. I felt the sounds and smells of the forest dull even as I began to feel my mind and body once again become one. My senses weren't quite as sharp now, but I still remembered which way the waterfall was. That was going to be our next destination. We had been traveling for a few days non-stop now, and we could all use a cool soak. It might just have been my imagination, but ever since we crossed the Fire Nation border the air got crazy dry.
"Hey Snoozles, wake up. We need to get going," yelled Toph from somewhere to my right. I often wondered if the heightened senses I had when I meditated were akin to what Toph had all the time; knowing where everything was, feeling the flow of the world. I put it from my mind as something to ask later. Then I opened my eyes and gave into the urge to yawn.
"Sleep well?" Katara asked as she threw her sleeping bag up to Aang, who was standing on top of Appa putting away our gear.
"Fairly, but I told you before I wasn't sleeping. I was meditating." I sighed as everyone burst into laughter; they never believed me. But that was fine, I would prove my worth one day soon. I sat stiff-backed in a lotus position, my legs crossed beneath me. My hands rested palms up on my knees and my black sword was placed across them. I gently pulled one hand free, letting the tip of the blade balance on my knee, and reached for the scabbard lying parallel to me. Sheathing my blade I stood up and stretched, my back popped a few times, a relaxing coldness set into my spine. Then I bent down to pick up my gear.
I had rolled up my sleeping bag before I had meditated; if I hadn't I would have been kicked in the head for 'sleeping' while they prepared to leave. I usually got up an hour or so earlier then everyone else these days. How, I didn't really know. I'm not typically what you would call a morning person, I like my sleep as much as the next guy, but lately I always seemed to be rising with the sun.
Reaching down again I grabbed my ... I don't know what you would call it. Shoulder-warmer? I don't know, it went over my shoulders and tied around the neck. It was part of the Fire Nation clothes we wore to disguise ourselves. I looked down at myself.
The Fire-Nation really liked the colors crimson, black and brown. I wore a brown button down shirt that reached down to mid-thigh. I liked the cut of the shirt; it was like my Water Tribe clothes. Under the long shirt I had black knee high shorts, and a pair of black and crimson sandals, and over my waist a black belt was clinched tight. I think it was mostly decorative, like the cloth wrist guards. It didn't really seem to hold my pants up. And then there was my, also crimson, neck ... thingy.
"Stop playing with your cape and help pack," called Toph as she passed her things to Aang. Then she started tying on her own ... now that was a cape. It draped over her shoulders, tied into her belt and fell down her back, almost to her knees! If that wasn't a cape I didn't know what was. But I have to say it did suit her, that long red slip dress with that gold tiara that she wore. It made her look stunning, and other people would probably notice it too if she just tied back her hair. She had the most beautiful misty eyes. Suddenly I realized I had been staring at Toph again and quickly shook it off. It wasn't my fault, I just had a habit of forgetting what I was doing when I looked at her for too long.
"Its not a cape." I protested. Well it wasn't. I didn't know what it was, but it wasn't a cape. And it sure as hell didn't look any worse then Aang's Fire Nation school clothes or Katara's robe-y thing. I didn't really like that thing on her very much. It showed way more then I - as a brother - was comfortable with. But if I said anything about it she would try to drown me.
"Then what is it?" asked Katara, grinning with a hand on her hip. I got the strangest feeling that she knew something I didn't. Bloody confusing women and their mind games.
"Its, uh. A shoulder warmer." I said, knowing I was defeated even before I opened my mouth. Everyone started to laugh again, but I just shrugged it off and started to tie back my hair. After a few seconds I had it bunched in the back and looked down for the Fire emblem I used to hold it there. I scraped a few pine needles to the side with the tip of my sandal. I thought I had left it right there.
"Looking for your hair barrette Snoozles?" Toph teased. I looked over and saw my hair clip in her hands.
"Its a hair clip," I huffed stomping over to where Toph stood grinning mischievously at me. Even before I got to her I knew what was coming. We went through this at least once a week. I stopped right in front of her and considered her for a second. But she just stared through me with her sightless eyes from behind her bangs. I don't know if I could have gotten the clip out of her hands, my reflexes had gotten much better lately. Maybe if I really tried.
I reached out to it with a lazy movement and of course Toph immediately rocketed fifteen feet in the air on a pillar of stone.
"Ha ha, very funny," I said, turning my back and sticking my nose in the air for effect. "I was going to schedule some time off so that we can get cleaned up and have a little fun at the waterfall... but I guess you'd rather play games here." I knew it had worked even before I felt the column of earth slam back into the ground.
"What, waterfall? Where?" Aang shouted from on top of Appa. I ignored him for a second and turned back to face Toph, who also seemed to be excited- I guess even she thought there was a point where it crossed over from 'a health coating of earth' to 'just plain dirty'.
"Alright," she said, then she handed me the hair clip back. I was just trying to figure out how long we could spend at the waterfall when her rough, thin fingers brushed my calloused ones. All my calculations and planning vanished from my minds eye as I completely blanked out. Then the contact was broken and I realized once again I had a vacant expression on my face. 'No wonder people think I'm stupid,' I thought as I clipped my hair in place and made sure the fire emblem was the right way.
"So where is this waterfall, did you find it on one of the maps?" Katara asked as she climbed up Appa to get into the saddle. Was it still called a saddle? It was kind of big; maybe it had another name when it was that large.
"No, it's not on any maps, at least not the ones we have. That means it small, so we won't be bothered," I said nervously; they wouldn't believe me if I told them the truth.
"Then how did you find it?" Aang asked as Toph ran past me and clambered up Appa to take her regular place holding onto one of the decorative rings. Flying must be a scary thing for her, knowing she's hundreds of feet in the air, and truly blind. It must be one of the most frightening things in her world, except maybe deep water. I wish I could be that brave, to get up every morning and place my life in the hands of others while being rendered nearly completely helpless. Suddenly I realized I had zoned out again and they were still waiting for me to answer. Damn it.
"Oh I know," shouted Aang. "He heard it while he was meditating." This brought on a fresh round of laughter.
"Actually I smelled it," I said softly, but apparently they could still hear it. Now Katara was laughing so hard she was crying and Toph looked like she was about to fall off of Appa. "I don't see what was so funny." I said as I got up and dropped into the saddle near the back like always.
"It's that way," I said flatly, pointing northeast.
Aang managed to gasp out; "Yipp yipp," and we were off.
The wind blowing hard against my face was refreshing, until a gopher-dove almost dove down my throat. This of course brought on a new wave of laughter. 'Bloody monsters reveling in my pain' I thought as I rubbed my cheek where the small, fluffy yellow kamikaze had struck me. Then I sighed and laughed a little myself; we were on a very dangerous mission deep behind enemy lines, we needed a few laughs. And it was kind of funny.
"Only Sokka could find something to hurt him in the wide open sky," my sister mocked. Aang was giggling as he kept his eye out for the waterfall. I could smell it again, it wasn't far now.
"What did Sokka do now?" asked Toph with a smile. It was hard to remember sometimes that she was actually blind up here.
"I didn't do anything, a fluffy bird tried to commit suicide by throwing itself down my throat," I replied. "A little further to the east Aang, we're drifting off course."
"He ended up getting ninja kicked in the face by the poor little thing," Aang yelled from atop Appa's head as he flicked the reins a bit, re-directing Appa.
"'Poor little thing' my splintered Boomerang, it was a red-eyed monster shooting towards me like an flaming arrow," I cried, deciding I no longed thought it was funny.
"Ooh, poor baby. Do you want me to kiss it better?" asked Toph with a little giggle. My stomach did a back flip. Normally I would have come up with a fairly clever retort, but my mind did its white board impression again as my mouth opened a little. I cleared my throat, and said something that got the others laughing again. I really don't know what it was, but I found I really didn't care; my chest felt like it was filled with a rapidly expanding balloon and it was right then that I noticed how delicate and soft Toph's neck looked. I was gripped with the strongest urge to nibble on it, to see what sounds she might make.
"Oh my, I think you embarrassed him Toph. He's as red as an angry Firebender," Katara said with another of her 'I know something' grins.
Oh god, she couldn't suspect what I was just thinking could she? Now I felt ice water fill my insides as the though of an angry and offended Toph etched itself on my mind. She would be disgusted, spiteful, she would scream and rage at me. And then I would be left behind. Aang needed the girls as elemental teachers, but I was the dead weight of the group. If there were a problem I would be left behind, alone. I would never see any of them again.
Thankfully a distraction presented itself in the form of the waterfall. I pointed it out and Aang started to bring us down as I did my best to shake the cold fear that had filled me. Did I care for Toph? I cared for all of them; Katara was my sister and of course I felt a brotherly affection for her. And Aang was like both the younger and older brother I never had. As the only two men of the group, there were things we could only look to one another for.
But what about Toph?
I thought that I had developed a stronger and meaningful relationship with Suki recently. I guess you could say we were together, sort of. But ... then there were these feeling and thoughts I had about Toph. What were they about, wasn't I too old for her? I was two years older. But dad was seven years older then my mother.
'Yeah, but he wasn't sixteen,' a voice inside me called out.
'So, what does that have to do with anything?' I countered the voice. 'I may be young, but I have been through so much, I don't think I could have survived without maturing. I think...'
Maybe it was the danger that was making me think that way. Was I just trying to find some stability in this war, a raft in the raging ocean so to speak? Something to hold onto? A very vivid image of Toph in my arms passed my minds eye. I could almost feel how warm she would be.
'Wait,' commanded another voice in my growing chorus of me, myself, and I. 'We still haven't even figured out how we feel about Toph yet, aren't we getting a little ahead of ourselves?'
God damn it, there needs to be some sort of rule book on this crap. It's too bloody confusing. My internal dialogue wasn't really helping either. I was jarred out of my thoughts by Appa landing. Even before the fuzzy beast had all four paws on the ground, Aang had jumped into the water with a holler.
I watched Toph get up and slowly lower herself to the ground. It was probably the only time I could really look at her; I was too afraid of her 'seeing' me watch her when we were on the ground to do it. These precious few seconds between the others being out of sight and Toph setting foot on the ground were the only times I had to ... to do what? What did I expect to see?
I watched her, her misty eyes always seeming to look at everything without judging. I always thought they looked a little sad ... but that was stupid. Her long black bangs still hung in her face, giving her a mysterious sort of aura. She gripped a handful of Appa's fur as she continued down. She was a small girl, deceptively so. She was possibly the greatest Earthbender in the world, after all who else could bend metal? But she was still so tiny, sometimes I just wanted to take her in my arms and hold her tight, be consumed by the smell of her hair and the feel of her heartbeat.
I literally slapped myself for that thought; a moment later I felt the heat of a red hand shaped mark forming on my face.
"Sokka? Did you just slap yourself?" Aang asked from the middle of the little pool, a confounded expression on his face. I heard him, but it didn't register, as my mind was in too much turmoil. Instead I took in the sight of the waterfall. It was small, maybe fifty feet from the top to the little pool and river below. On either side were the chipped and rough gray walls of a short cliff. The waterfall itself was about thirty feet across at the top and the white water cascading down looked so inviting. At the bottom of the falls there were large stones worn flat by the years of relentless pounding. Add to it the overwhelming smell of water, stone and pine and you could almost forget you were in the Fire Nation.
It was very peaceful.
"Hey, Sokka. Your brain stop again?" called up Toph from somewhere around Appa's feet, I couldn't see exactly where because I was still sitting in the saddle like an idiot. With a furious blush that covered the handprint I grabbed the two bags that held the soaps and other cleaning whatnot we had for these little outdoor bath times. Tossing the brown one to Katara I slung the blue one over my shoulder and climbed down Appa's hairy side.
"C'mon Aang," I called, not looking back. From somewhere behind me I heard Toph ask Katara something in a hushed voice, but I paid it no mind and continued to walk along the stream. A minute later I heard Aang come running up behind me, Momo flying ahead scanning the ground for bugs to eat. When we had gone a fair distance we came to a bend in the stream and stopped just around it. I threw the bag of soap and little bottle of shampoo to Aang and scanned the trees on the other bank. I wasn't looking for enemies; after all, we blended in perfectly. If anyone came along they would just see some Firebenders, besides with Toph's unique abilities we would get a warning before anyone got close enough to pose a threat. I was looking for something else. My eyes settled on an ancient looking pine whose lower branches hung over the river.
That tree looked good. It had sturdy branches, many at nearly perfect right angles to the ground. I walked over to it as Aang stripped right down behind me and jumped into the stream naked, save for the bar of soap in his hand.
"Hey Momo, you want a scrub too?" he asked as the lemur flew in a tight circle over head. After being coaxed down the critter sat still on a rock as he got sudsed up, then became tired of sitting and dove into the water. Of course Aang quickly turned this into a game of who could splash the most. Needless to say in a matter of seconds I was soaked.
But it mattered not, I planned on having my own scrub down in a bit. I just wanted to get some training out of the way. No point in having a bath before the sweating started. I tested the branches of the likely looking tree and after making sure it could hold my weight I gripped it tight and pulled myself up. With a small amount of effort I hooked my legs onto the branch and let myself hang upside down for a moment. I glanced to my left and a dripping Momo was hanging next to me expectantly. I laughed a bit before tightening my stomach muscles and pulling my body up to my knees.
I let myself fall then started to raise back up, only this time I twisted to the right so that I could touch my left elbow to my right knee before I fell back down- the next time I twisted to the left so that I could touch my right elbow to my left knee. Over and over I repeated this, and each time the burning in my abdomen intensified until it reached a throbbing ache and I could not pull myself up again. Fifty six times today, two less then last time.
I needed to train more often. Grabbing the branch between my knees I twisted and dropped to the grass.
I looked behind me and saw that Aang still had a head full of soap that he had just dunked in the stream, and judging from the fact that he seemed to be about to assault Momo from underwater, using his shampoo bubbles as cover, I guessed I still had time. I brushed the sweaty hair out of my face; my short wolf-tail had come undone while I was upside down. Reaching up I took out the hair clip and let my hair fall down around my ears as I took a few breaths in preparation for the next exercise.
Turning to face the tree I bent down and placed both hands on the driest patch of dirt I could fine, and then I kicked off of the ground and held a wobbly handstand until my feet were leaning up against the rough bark. Making sure my feet could easily slide up and down but still maintain my balance I began to do push-ups. Up and down, over and over as the burn spread to my arms and chest, the training not only helped my body but the hard work brought peace to my mind.
A few minutes later the burn once again became too great to continue and I let myself drop to the ground. Forty-three, better then last time. But those last few felt a little wobbly; I'd need to work on balance later. Next I grasped the branch with both hands and started to do chin-ups.
For the better part of an hour I strength trained, until I burned all over in a very satisfying way and just laid on the damp grass for a short time. A bit later I finally got up and started to take off my shirt and ... shoulder warmer and draped them over the branch I had nearly stripped the bark from during my exercises.
Behind me I heard rather than saw the little wave of water that very deliberately tore its way down the stream against the current. Immediately Aang jumped out of the water and stared to get dressed. The wave was Katara's way of telling us male-folk that the girls were done bathing and that we were allowed to come back to the camp.
Grabbing the little green apple scented bar of soap out of the bag I waded into the cool water and sighed as it massaged my tight muscles, and I had gotten some pretty nice muscles lately. My arms were coming along nicely, and my chest was squaring off. And that's not to mention that I could now see the rough outline of my abs without flexing. I lathered the soap on my face and then moved down to my neck.
"Sokka, I'm going back now. You going to be okay alone?" Aang asked from the shore, I didn't looked because I would have gotten soap in my eyes.
"Yeah, I'll be along in a bit," I answered as I dove beneath the water to rinse my face. When I came back up Aang was gone but Momo was still sitting on the bank staring at me. Creepy little monkey, sometimes I wish I had eaten it back at the air temple. Well, not really. The little fuzz monster had grown on me.
I stood up to wash my chest and back, and found that Momo was staring very pointedly at my mid-section. I turned my back on him and continued. I may have grown to like the little thing, but I still thought he was creepy.
I walked back to the camp a short time later fully dressed and dry to find Toph and Aang doing some crazy Earthbending. I don't know what it was meant to accomplish, all it seemed like they were doing was throwing the biggest rocks they could find at each other. A moment later I noticed Aang had a blind fold on and decided this was one of those times where I should get far away lest I would become smashed into pudding. Being sure not to look at Toph in case I blanked put again and got smashed I retrieved my black sword from the saddle that now laid on the ground. Aang had taken it off of Appa so that he could splash around too; a guttural roar from behind me showed that Appa was very appreciative.
I held the blade tightly in my hand as I walked away from the 'squish Sokka' zone over to a dry and peaceful spot near the tree line. Katara noticed that I was back and called out to me, but I just waved a greeting and prepared. The others may not believe I was actually training, they probably just thought I was fooling around with my sword. But I did it everyday I could, and it helped sharpen my skills.
Firstly I unsheathed my sword and took my starting stance, blocking out the world and concentrating fully on what I was doing. Sliding my right foot back behind me I squared it off and placed most of my weight on it. Then I slowly pushed my left leg, held tight and straight, out in front of me. With my left hand I reached out before myself like an archer lining up a shot and made a tight fist save for my index and middle fingers, which I pointed straight up. Lastly I raised my black sword in my right hand, even with my eye line and just to my right, much like a scorpion's stinger. Hence why I called this my scorpion stance.
I held this stance for a few moments before I started. Choosing a random point in the air before me, which I would consider my enemy, I slowly brought my sword forward into a straight thrust at what would be the enemy's stomach. After fully extending the exaggerated movement I pivoted on my right foot and twisted away from the enemy, bringing the sword close to my chest. As I turned I started to bring my left knee up to my chest. I was moving terribly slow right now, but had I been moving at the normal battle pace bringing my knee up would speed up my turn so that when I re-extended my sword arm a moment later it would come slicing at the enemy's neck.
Assuming my enemy blocked my sword with a clever bit of bending I ducked, avoiding a 'blast of fire'. Then using the same momentum I twisted on my left ankle and spun in an attack that would normally sweep an enemies legs from under him. After delivering a quick final blow I rolled straight backwards avoiding the 'blast' from a second enemy. Once I got my feet below me again I gripped my sword with both hands and slowly brought it straight up to the face of my enemy.
This could go on forever; I would do battle with an army. One enemy after another would appear before my mind's eye and I would put my mind to the ultimate test by both fighting my enemy and - as the enemy- fight myself.
"Sokka, are you having an argument with your imaginary friend again?" asked Toph. A quick peek to the river show me that she had concluded her training session with Aang, who was lying flat on the ground both trying to clutch his heaving chest and as many of the blossoming bruises as he could. I smiled a bit; Toph was one tough sugar cookie.
"I'm practicing my combat movements," I replied as I ducked a viciously thrown axe.
"And I'm sure the Fire Nation soldiers would be more then kind enough to slow that far down for you to keep up," teased Katara.
"I told you before, a true swordsman-"
"Swordsperson," corrected my very distracting sister.
"We'll I'm a guy, so in this case this swordsman practices the movements slowly so that when the time comes he can execute them with precision and blinding speed," I explained as two Firebender pike-men ... pike-people attacked me.
Jade Knight - Richard Caine - Kitty
-This chapter has been Beta-approved :)-